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Archive for the ‘healthy eating’ Category

Self-Care Makes Us More Effective

https://www.flickr.com/photos/philipglevy/9462509263/in/photolist-fqaQkr-6B62hk-9jZwX5-4FH1En-54uCWa-a3Ns41-6BanmN-6DM4U9-5u49NP-6v9Puu-6DGTwD-4FMcCG-doJVpC-3ervgn-4FMcmC-pb1bmR-6v9McG-6DM5Wm-a71Zuu-5i6sb2-6B9Lkj-4FH1v4-gQpcex-jZKZ5o-6v9NNf-6B5zw6-89YYg5-6v9Xbb-6MPVRc-6v9Wow-6v5Gyk-aPQjfH-6v9QjU-6v5PF8-6v9VcG-cu2a4-DUvgxx-6v9YGJ-5oAaDQ-8ipJ7z-5VgzB9-6B9AVJ-5KTyGH-5Vce46-Uwsk9p-6vNzky-6v5FCV-6B5rgp-6v9UFb-6v9LjqMaking Self-Care a Daily Habit

In a world where we’ve come to believe more is better, one thing we often lose sight of is self-care. In fact, it is often ignored completely until some nasty virus, or worse knocks us flat. Too many of us fail to recognize that if we don’t take care of ourselves first, we will ultimately break down. Meanwhile, as we run ourselves ragged without a break; as we ignore our body’s pleas for relief, our effectiveness is decreasing daily.

But what is self-care, really? It can be as simple as getting up from your desk every hour so to stretch, or as hedonistic as an entire day at the spa or the beach. We definitely need both extremes, but on a regular basis, we need something in between. Here are a few of my favorite self-care choices

  • Making a big salad to keep in the refrigerator for a side dish or an entire meal. I can grab-and-go but still get a healthy meal.
  • Cooking shakshuka for breakfast as inspired by one of my favorite chefs, authors, and food journalists,  Faye Levy
  • Giving myself one day a week to go to the gym and run errands.
  • Giving myself 3 workouts per week.
  • Dancing
  • Getting a massage
  • Reading…all day
  • Walking on the beach
Feeling Good Makes You More Effective

You can certainly make your own list if you give it a chance. The main thing is to do something for yourself that makes you feel good, even if that’s just cleaning your house. It takes you out of your normal routine. Mixes things up, not unlike changing a workout routine. It makes your muscles; in this case your brain and emotions, work differently so you avoid fatiguing them to the point of failure.

Indulging in self-care carries with it some huge bonuses. For me, it means:

  • Being able to work 10-12 hour days when my work load requires it because I have grab-and-go meals in my refrigerator and freezer.
  • I’m already in the habit of getting up and moving every so often, so my muscles don’t stiffen during those long days at my desk.
  • I can take off for long weekends when I want or need to.
  • I can afford to designate one day a week as “errand day” without feeling guilty about the work I’m not getting done.
  • I can work my own hours.
  • No guilt…ever.
Give Yourself Permission to be Self-Indulgent

That last one is to me the most important aspect of the whole program. One of my favorite mentors, Linda Clay says it best: “Don’t beat yourself up”. Sometimes you need to take the time to relax rather than accomplish things. When you take time to relax, you allow your mind, body, and spirit to rejuvenate. You’re more productive for having taken the time to honor your own needs.

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few nights vegging in front of the TV and playing games on my phone. I woke up one morning and I was super-productive. I got a ton of work done, wrote extensively and even cleaned the house because I had the energy and motivation to do what I needed to do.

Getting Things Off Your “Someday” List

One of my veg sessions led me to do one of the “someday” tasks, and doing so left me feeling freer and more energized. I had a large cardboard box full of random plastic ware in one of my bedrooms. It was the last remaining box from my ill-fated remodel. I’d been moving it around the room when I cleaned for years. Yes, YEARS! I just didn’t want to deal with the task of sorting through it and finding homes for the contents. Now that it’s gone, I realize it really stood for my resistance to releasing the emotions from the whole experience. Other than putting down some of the ceramic tile I’d bought for the project, I’d done nothing else to improve my space.

Emptying out that box and either storing, trashing, or giving away the contents opened up the floodgates to many changes.

  • I bought the red Adirondack chairs I’d seen at Lowe’s so my front porch looks welcoming and encourages friends to come visit for wine and red chair nights.
  • I finally picked a paint color and let my daughter have her way with my living room. (I’m loving the sea green walls!)
  • I began attracting new clients because I had made space for them.
  • I recreated a healthy, productive work schedule which takes advantage of the times I’m most attuned to certain tasks.
  • I was finally able to hone in on certain aspects of my business which were bogging me down, like who my ideal client is.
Lose the Guilt

Self-care is effective, no matter what, but to enjoy it’s full rejuvenating benefits, you must give yourself the gift without strings. What strings, you ask?

How often do you stop to do something for yourself, but feel guilty for doing it? You feel like you’re letting someone else down or failing to do everything you should. STOP THAT NOW!

Guilt and self-recrimination sap the beautiful energy you gain by taking some time for yourself. If we accept the rest and refresh time as necessary and allowable, we are far more productive afterwards because we don’t use up the energy we gain castigating ourselves for taking that time, for not operating at peak performance.

You deserve time to refresh yourself. Give yourself permission to do so.
Treat Yourself the Way You Treat Everyone Who is Near and Dear

If we are constantly operating full bore, all the things we say we’ll do “someday” will never happen because we never take enough of a break to let someday come. If we take the time for R & R without guilt or regret, we’ll have the energy to tackle the “somedays”. We’ll have the motivation to do more than we could have imagined when we were driving ourselves into exhaustion.

I urge you to indulge yourself regularly. Take those breaks. Do something you love that’s just for you. Get out in nature every single week. Spend time with people you love and who energize you. Because all work and no play doesn’t just make you boring, it can make you sick.

As a bonus, here is my Shakshuka recipe.

Sheri's Shakshuka

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A light, healthy, Mediterranean-inspired dish perfect for a solo breakfast or brunch, or to share.


Ingredients

  • garlic olive oil for cooking
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 piece fresh turmeric chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/4 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  1. Heat oil in small frying pan
  2. Add chopped onion, garlic, and turmeric. Cook until the onions start to turn clear. (this can be done while chopping the next ingredients).
  3. Add zucchini, cook for a minute or so. Add mushrooms, cook for another minute or two. Add spinach, cook until slightly wilted.
  4. Carefully crack eggs on top of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with pepper to taste.
  5. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Gratitude: My Favorite Self-Indulgence

Last but not least, always be grateful for all you have, and especially the little things.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people in my life who remind me to take care of myself.
  2. I am grateful for ready access to healthy foods.
  3. I am grateful I take the time for self-care.
  4. I am grateful for my ever-increasing well of energy.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; energy, self-love, self-care, friendship, healthy habits, health, peace, love, encouragement, inspiration, motivation, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

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Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Could Inflammatory Foods Be Causing Your Joint Pain?

Pain: The Most Effective Universal Head Slap.

My post-Thanksgiving eating binges affected me in ways I should have foreseen, but didn’t. Sure, the leftover pie, cocoa and cranberry sauce put a few of the pounds I thought I’d left behind forever back on, but that was the least of my problems.

The knees which had been so cooperative in recent months; coincidentally since I cut out processed foods and sugar, started swelling painfully. When they also began to show signs of weakness, I knew it was time to get serious about my eating habits and cut out the inflammatory foods. The first to go was the sugar.

Since my memory isn’t what it used to be, I felt I needed some reminders about what other foods are inflammatory so I could limit or eliminate them as well. Sadly, the black forest ham I’ve been nibbling on or pairing with Swiss or pepper jack cheese had to go or be severely limited as well. As did the cheese.

Though my knees are still crying bitter tears by the time I climb into bed at night, they’re far happier than they were a few days ago.

How Do I Know What to Eat and What to Avoid?

Since I know I’m not alone in suffering the consequences of my less-than-perfect food choices, here’s a short list of foods to avoid if you suffer any symptoms of inflammation. These can be obvious like sore knees or tender sinuses, or a rash, or less obvious like some sort of unexplained internal discomfort or sluggishness.

These are some of the most common foods which are rated over -100 on the IF scale I’ve included below:

  • Processed sugar, as I mentioned before
  • Dairy including cheese, milk and yogurt
  • White Flour (so that means bread, pasta, cereals, and all of the other starchy delights made with white flour). Whole wheat flour is a little better, though still -89 for 1/3 of a cup.
  • Dried fruit
  • Meat (though to my surprise both ground beef and turkey rated fairly low on the inflammatory scale, -2 and -7 respectively)
  • Plantains

Researchers have even developed an inflammation factor rating chart for the foods we eat with a positive number representing anti-inflammatory foods and a negative one representing inflammatory foods. The higher the number in either direction, the stronger the food is for the applicable factor. The following chart from http://www.inflammationfactor.com shows how the numbers shake out.

200 or higher Strongly anti-inflammatory
101 to 200 Moderately anti-inflammatory
0 to 100 Mildly anti-inflammatory
-1 to -100 Mildly inflammatory
-101 to 200 Moderately inflammatory
-201 or lower Strongly inflammatory
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Sides of Food Choices

Checking foods on their rating chart will give you the inflammation factor, but be aware that the ratings, just like calories or anything else, are based on a particular portion size.

For example, 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli has an IF rating of +60 which is mildly anti-inflammatory while 1/4 cup of dried apricots has a rating of -56, or mildly inflammatory. But there are a few surprises.

A double cheeseburger from Burger King has an IF rating of -171, just a little higher than a cup of cooked, long-grain white rice (-153).

On the other end of the spectrum, many types of fish are strongly anti-inflammatory with Sable fish leading the pack with a whopping 703 for 3 ounces! Salmon and tuna are a bit lower but still in high enough to be highly beneficial. It’s no surprise to me to also find ginger and turmeric in the top 10.

Though there are surprisingly few foods which actually tip the scale at more than -100, I caution you to pay attention to the serving sizes. The food that may be only -50 or -60 for a small portion, say 1/2 cup of baked potato, will climb rapidly, the more you eat. And the more inflammatory foods you consume, the greater risk of harming your body.

What the Chart Won’t Show You But Labels Will

With all of the pre-made foods available these days, it can be more difficult to regulate the quality of what you’re eating. I thought I was doing well by limiting my packaged foods to those available at places like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, but even there, you have to read the labels. For me, I’ve found it’s just better to avoid them altogether. But I also enjoy cooking up huge batches of soup, stir-fry, chili and more and freezing them in single serving containers. Not everyone has the time or inclination to do the same.

When all else fails, I recommend reading the labels. One of the biggest surprises I got recently was comparing organic tomato sauce to good old Hunts. The ingredients on the organic sauce were sugar, tomatoes, and water. On the Hunt’s, tomatoes and water. You can guess which one I bought. A little label scanning also forced me to give up buying cases of Kirkland’s version for the same reason I passed on the organic variety in the market.

What doesn’t show up on the IF table is all of the preservatives and additives found in prepared and packaged foods today. I’ve learned that our bodies know exactly what to do with organic compounds like fruits, vegetables, and even meat, but give it something with a whole lot of letters and it says the same thing we do when we try to pronounce them. “Huh? What is this stuff and what am I supposed to do with it anyway?”

All I Have to Do to Be Healthy is Manage My Food Choices, Right?

So now that you have a handle on the foods you eat, the foods you limit, and the foods (if some of them can even be called that) to avoid at all costs, you should be feeling great, right?

Do you remember the arthritis ad which says “a body in motion stays in motion”? Well, take it from me. No matter how perfect your diet might be, if you sit on your butt all day, those joints and organs you’re working so hard to feed well are still going to suffer. We need to change positions frequently. Our muscles thrive on being subjected to varying degrees of stress from pushing, pulling, standing, sitting, lifting, stretching and anything else you can think to do with this miraculous thing we call a body.

Raising Your Own Bar

You know your own limits. Why not push them just a little? You’d be surprised how quickly those limits expand.

I remember when I first started regaining my dancing routine. I wore out quickly and had to rest pretty frequently. Now, I can dance an entire two-step set (depending on the partner. Some of them kick my sorry butt, but not as easily as they used to!) and follow it up with a killer line dance set. Unless the DJ tosses in Skiffle Time, I’m usually good to go for the next set of two-steps as well. If I get to the gym regularly, I find my stamina and strength climb more rapidly and I even sweat less (which is especially helpful with those back to back two-steps!)

In conclusion, I have learned, though I tend to need reminders, that I need to feed and move my body consciously. When I wing it, eat whatever sounds good, or worse, is easiest, and spend an inordinate amount of time in front of my computer or watching Christmas movies on Hallmark Channel or Lifetime, I pay the price in both lack of mobility and pain. As I don’t enjoy either one, it typically takes only a few twinges of pain to remind me to get my lazy self back in gear. For me, it’s dancing, walking or hiking. What works for you?

Above All, Tell
Yourself How Grateful You Are for the Positive Changes

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my body’s little reminders to take better care of myself.
  2. I am grateful for the resources available to help me make better choices.
  3. I am grateful for the love of cooking which makes it easier to keep healthy, easy options in the house.
  4. I am grateful for my dancing and my new hiking buddy which both help keep my body healthy, agile and aging much more slowly than people who spend a lot of time sitting.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; health, happiness, joy, love, friendship, good food, opportunities, challenges, lessons, success, rejection, writing, peace, hope, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Photo courtesy of FoodFacts PM via Flickr

10 Reasons Why I Can’t Go Full Paleo

With Better Understanding Comes Enlightenment

Yesterday I made the rash proclamation I was going to give the Paleo diet a try. However, today I did some research and with the help of The Ultimate Paleo Guide, I realized that my tastes alone, much less my propensity towards cooking and freezing large quantities just wouldn’t accommodate such a strict regime. Instead, I realize I just need to cut out the grains, if not entirely, by limiting consumption to infrequent occurrences. So without further ado, here are the 10 reasons I can’t eat like a cave (wo)man:

  1. Cheese – I admit it. I love cheese in so many shapes and styles. I love it sprinkled on vegetables, garnishing my turkey-pumpkin chili and too many other places to mention. When I’m starving but have no time to eat, a piece of cheese will keep me going for another couple of hours.
  2. Yogurt – It has allowed me to always eat the most important meal of the day; breakfast. Half a cup of non-fat greek plain with bee pollen and blueberries or honey is just what my newly awakened tummy can, well, stomach.
  3. Lentils – This lovely little legume has replaced beans of all sorts in my cooking. It is protein- and fiber- filled; in short, a nutritional kick start to whatever I decide to put it in.
  4. Squash – I have recently discovered a love of all things squash; be it pumpkin, butternut,spaghetti, acorn or kabocha. My harvest boxes boast squashes of all kinds, shapes and colors and far be it for me to turn my back on such bounty!
  5. Beets – how could I ever give up these lovely red and orange bulbs which grace my salads and smoothies with their smooth, rich flavor?
  6. Steel Cut Oatmeal – While I look for the gluten-free variety, when the mornings are freezing, I will forego my yogurt but only if I can have my oatmeal. This is non-negotiable and probably dates back to my childhood when a bowl of hot cereal was often the start of my day.
  7. Butter – I rarely eat toast so it’s not that I’d miss this spread on it. However, I do enjoy a bit of it on my potatoes (see more on that later) or veggies. Olive oil just doesn’t always cut it so I will use butter on occasion. And don’t even suggest making mashed potatoes without it.
  8. Potatoes – This isn’t something I eat every day or even every week, but I do enjoy them now and again. And if my potassium levels drop which they do on occasion, a baked potato with broccoli and cheese will often set me to rights.
  9. Almond and Coconut Milk – As these are recent developments and involve processing, I’m going to assume they’re not allowed. I use them in my smoothies and sometimes coffee. Again, not something I consume frequently, but enough that I can’t see giving them up.
    And last but not least
  10. Coffee – I am not fit for human interaction without my morning cup of coffee. Period. End of discussion. Fini. Don’t even ask me to enter a world where coffee isn’t on the menu, ok?
Making Adjustments that Fit My Lifestyle

I’m not one to set myself up for failure, though I will push to achieve things which seem impossible like, say, 50,000 words in a month. Knowing which foods I can comfortably live without is one of those things. But that doesn’t mean I can’t modify my diet and cut out some things I can openly admit I’ve been over-consuming of late. I’m not quite on track for the 20 pound loss by April, so I do realize change is necessary, but let’s be realistic, shall we? A small scoop of ice cream or a single piece of chocolate every so often isn’t going to blow my diet or cancel my resolve. I just have to renegotiate the meaning of “infrequent” with myself is all.

I may still look for paleo companies to pitch because, after all, I can write about something even if I don’t practice it myself, can’t I? Anyone can research a topic and write on it intelligently if they try. And so many of my healthy eating type posts will translate into Paleo, even if some will require a slight tweaking to fit the mold.

Healthy in Mind, Body and Spirit

Overall, I believe it’s important to feed the entire body Human. That means, for me, daily meditations, exercise, good food, pursuing my passion, and above all, always striving to improve in each of these areas. I do well for awhile, then slip if I don’t monitor what I’m doing. Then comes a period of adjustment and getting back on track. The cycle ebbs and flows, repeating itself, but never quite the same, and overall, I feel better for it, so some of it must be working!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the power of Google. I can learn new things with a few keystrokes.
2. I am grateful for the ability to understand myself; my strengths, my weaknesses and my limitations. But also to understand where I can make changes which will maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses. It’s an on-going project but I’m worth the effort.
3. I am grateful for new lessons learned and new confidence gained.
4. I am grateful for the love and good health of my furry family. Even when one is faltering, everyone joins forces to help them move back towards a state of healthiness.
5. I am grateful for abundance: confidence, initiative, motivation, inspiration, health, love, joy, peace, harmony, friendship, intelligence, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

A Fortuituous Accident

Turning Accidents into Opportunities

Last week, I pitched my writing services to a friend’s son…or so I thought. For lack of a single word, I got someone else entirely–someone who was just about to start looking for a blog writer for their site!

The lucky mistakes didn’t end there. A couple of days ago, I sent a pitch to a woman I can only refer to as my mentor. She put out two amazing courses and takes time out of her busy day as a solopreneur and mother to coach and encourage her students.

I didn’t make the cut, but she told me why and gave me further clarification when I asked. That experience helped me hone my pitch when I sent it to the right place this time. But that’s just the beginning of the story.

So Many Topics, So Little Time

I don’t know how others do it, but when I flesh out an idea, whether it’s for a novel, a pitch or something else, I do my research. As I studied the information about this potential client’s area of expertise, I found some gems which I could use to improve my own lifestyle while also offering me another niche to pitch.

Years ago, I had regular visits with a nutritionist (who, bless her heart, did more than a little therapeutic listening as well) who tried to convince me to follow a Paleo diet. At the time, I balked, thinking I’d have to give up everything, and in some ways, I would. But as I research further, I realize that, these days, I’m not really far from that style of eating anyway. I make a lot of healthy meals without grains or processed foods and fill my freezer. I might have to change up a couple of things and forego all rice in favor of potatoes and yams, but overall, I don’t see it being such a loss.

Will I follow the plan strictly? Probably not. But even just paying attention to what goes in my mouth, not by quantity so much as quality can only benefit me overall. I will still have my 1/2 cup of greek yogurt and fruit in the morning. It’s easy, it’s quick and it’s small enough that I’ll eat breakfast every day. I’ll still eat chocolate on occasion, but a single piece and I’ll look for the more natural varieties. I may also have to learn to put up my own tomato sauce but again, not a bad thing.

What I’m also going to do for now which will simplify things a bit is to step away from MyFitnessPal for the next week or two and just see what happens when I change what I eat rather than how much. If it doesn’t work, I can always go back to what I’ve been doing, right? And maybe I’ll be more inclined to go to the gym again? One can only hope!

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for new opportunities to learn.
2. I am grateful for options.
3. I am grateful for the wonderful supportive people I continue to meet on this journey my Divine self is taking in its current Human form.
4. I am grateful for tasks I’ve completed which clear the way for new and exciting opportunities.
5. I am grateful for abundance: lessons, options, health, love, friendship, support, peace, harmony, joy, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

October 15, 2014 Accountability is an individual thing #shericonaway #blogboost

Self-monitoring tools can be more effective than you realize.

Here it is, Day 3 of “getting back on track”. I’ve been to the gym twice so far, picked up my harvest box, planned a healthy dish from its contents, but most important of all, kept track of food and exercise using MyFitnessPal.

As I basked in the glory of the loss of a few tenths of a pound, it occurred to me that tracking my activities is not only making me more aware of what I’m putting in my mouth, but of how long I’m sitting, and how much I’m really moving. I spend more time doing things like cooking and cleaning than I’d realized. Simply putting the dish for some of this week’s dinners together meant standing for the better part of an hour, and that doesn’t include the time it took to clean up my mess afterwards, nor to package the leftovers in single-serving containers.

Despite the fact that I watched a few hours of television last night (Tuesdays are the heavy night for my DVR), I found that I was more aware of how long I sat (though the ache in my right thigh from Monday’s pilates class contributed to my inability to sit for very long), and got up to do dishes or just walk around the house much more often, knowing that I had to log it and make sure I exercised enough to cover everything I put into my mouth and then some.

I have friends who swear by Weight Watchers because they love having to be accountable to someone else. I won’t argue the fact that many people see wonderful results, but you have to stay with it forever so you don’t fall off the track. I, myself, lost about 30 pounds on their program many years ago, but since I didn’t continue attending weekly meetings, I gained it all back and then some.

Motivation is similar to validation. Find what works and do it!

I have the utmost respect for people who use Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or any other program which helps to remind them to eat healthy and stay active while giving them recognition for their success. I just don’t have the patience to stay on someone else’s schedule for the long term, so I have to find ways that work for me, and feed my own motivational needs. The last time I religiously logged all of my food and activities on MyFitnessPal, I lost over 30 pounds, and, in fact, have not gained it all back!

By now, it should be crystal clear. Find what works and that you’re most likely to stick with for good. One way or another, you need to be accountable to someone, even if it’s just yourself. Think of it like a To Do List for a healthier lifestyle.

More time in the day means more moving

I have to say that once the motivation kicks in, everything begins to work better. Healthier eating means more energy and less sleeping in. More time means more things get done, and more movement happens. Since the pain in my thigh turned into pain through my IT band, I decided to give my body a gym break, but iced and foam rolled the painful areas several times today. Doing everything just before I headed out to get the rest of the ingredients for my Veggistrone meant that I got to walk out the kinks, and by the time I got home a couple of hours later, I felt a lot less pain.

In my search for a recipe that used a lot of cabbage, I found one for Veggistrone. Of course, I modified the bejeebers out of the recipe and ended up with something even lower in calories than the original, but high in allMinestrone soup with cabbage manner of vitamins and minerals, made even better by my super fresh veggies. I decided to double the recipe so I’d have some to freeze. Silly me! Even with my modifications, I got exactly what the recipe promised; twenty servings. I had one for dinner, put seven in a container in the refrigerator, and the rest in single servings for the freezer. I might be eating the stuff all winter, but it could be a lot worse! However, the promised prep time, start to finish of 1 3/4 hours was a little low. All told, it took me 2 1/2 hours to put the soup together and get it cooked, but think of all the calories I burned in the process (more, in fact, than the bowl I ate for dinner!)

Last but not least (then I’ll shut up about this, I promise) I put my FitBit back on just before I left to go shopping. Despite the fact that I didn’t put it on until after 11AM, I still walked over 5,000 steps and nearly 3 miles! I’m getting so psyched about improving my health that I just can’t stand it! (and I’m sure, by now, you’re rather sick of my raving too!)

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I decided to join CSA. Getting a harvest box every week means I’m eating a lot more fresh fruits and veggies and a lot less crap.
2. I am grateful for my increased energy.
3. I am grateful that I am now actively rejecting the idea of being completely lazy or indulging in take out food. I’m sure my body will be thanking me as well!
4. I am grateful that making positive changes is easier than it seems when I’m at the bottom of the mountain looking up.
5. I am grateful for abundance: energy, health, stamina, joy, motivation, inspiration and prosperity.

Namaste

September 25, 2014 Random observations

Food prep as therapy? Who knew?

Walking into the kitchen last night to remove the day’s debris and unload the dishwasher, I realized that my supply of pre-made salads was gone, which meant, unless I wanted to eat badly for the next few days, I needed to break down and restock my fridge. My first reaction was a huge sigh and “Darn! I need to make salads tonight!” but once I’d gotten things out of the way and began assembling three salads (I find that more than three means the last one isn’t quite is crisp and tasty, so three is a perfect number!), I really got into the chopping of the fresh veggies I’d gotten from Underwood Farms and TJ’s, including a new chocolate bell pepper (very sweet and tasty!). Once finished, I realized that I was quite relaxed and since I’d already written and posted the night’s blog contribution, I crawled into bed hours earlier than normal.

My plan to get a good night’s rest and an early start on today was thwarted, however. It seems that Mr. Scrappy Doo thinks that when the lights go off, he’s supposed to be as obnoxious as possible so he’ll get some attention. It isn’t as if I’m not ready, willing and able to give him that attention during the day, and even well into the night. He was like the ghost of Christmas Past, rattling window blinds, overturning a box full of tissue paper and manically attacking it until I was forced to remove it all from his happy little paws and dispose of it in a cat-proof container (which is a neat trick these days as I’d swear that cat has opposable thumbs! In Scrappy’s defense, he is the only one who cleans food up from around the food dishes, whether it’s the mess Munchkin makes with her wet food or the dry food Dylan digs out of the bowl to find just the right morsel. So despite his nocturnal proclivities, Scrappy Doo has become a much-loved and appreciated addition to my household. Even so, Dylan has been given permission to teach his younger sibling some manners, even if he has to beat it into Scrappy who carries stubbornness to heights even I haven’t seen before in a cat!

The good news, it’s Thursday night which means I had an especially joyful and sweaty night of dancing. Though it will take me a couple of hours to wind down (which makes it an especially good night to make the 2 1/2 hour drive to visit my daughter!), by the time I do, it will take more than a hyperactive, klutzy little 8 pound cat to keep me from a well-deserved slumber! Not that I don’t expect him to try! Reputations must be maintained, especially in the feline world!

Shortly after Mr. Scrappy Doo joined my household, I found myself fishing him out from behind my monitor with annoying regularity. Here is an example of his curiosity and persistence. Scrappy Doo as Kilroy

I believe this falls under the heading: “If mom keeps ignoring you, do something so incredibly cute that she not only pays attention, but has to get a picture!” I admit it. I’m a crazy cat lady known to my cats as “Staff”. Even now, the desk I cleaned off yesterday to accommodate client files for the accounting I still do is completely covered by the bodies of my two largest boys, Dylan and Toby. As Toby, alone, weighs nearly 20 pounds, he covers a lot of space, and Dylan is just, plain LONG!

I believe I have rambled and wandered enough for tonight, so I’ll close with my gratitudes.
1. I am grateful for friends who fill me with joy, simply by entering a room.
2. I am grateful for nights when I have to come home and peel my clothes off because I know I’ve had a great dance night.
3. I am grateful for furry children who only expect attention, love, food and treats (and a warm body to snuggle with at night). They give me that alone time I love without being completely alone. While I need a break from humans, I never need one from my cats.
4. I am grateful for the beginning of a new year which I know will see many more positive changes for me and for those I love and cherish.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, energy, laughter, sharing, healing, harmony, peace, change, health and prosperity.

Namaste

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